I submit to you, dear Hounds, a list of the foods that I sampled at the 2009 State Fair of Texas. I know no one really cares, but I'll give a few comments on each, anyway. As well, I will try to rank them from least favorite to favorite. Please enjoy:
**NOTE - I visited the Fair twice. On the first day, I only had 1 corny dog, 1 root beer and one piece of fried peach. The rest of the damage was done my second visit, and I must admit I kind of impressed myself as I reviewed all my eatings.
19.) (yes 19) CHOCOLATE COVERED DEEP FRIED JALAPENO - Bleck. Just didn't work. I know some of you are thinking: "Well, of course not!", but I like to consider myself a very adventurous eater and very open minded and I like just about everything (read: everything). However, this was just a mess from the start. Maybe it was the particular chocolate or the very fresh jalapeno. Spicy chocolate is a favorite of mine, but this: NOPE! (Cotton Bowl Plaza)
18.) FRIED PEANUTS IN THE SHELL - What a waste! You're supposed to be able to eat them "shell and all". That was like salty sawdust (though, better than ACTUAL sawdust), and the peanut itself was just really oily and soft. I never found DEEP FRIED PEANUTS which are breaded. I don't know if those would be better. (Fun Way)
**NOTE** - Those are really the only two foods I wouldn't try again. The rest of the list is really quite tasty, so you should probably look at it as a countdown from "tasty and would probably enjoy on another occasion" to "downright damned delicious". In most of the following foods, it's too bad they had to have their deliciousness judged on a list.
17.) BACON EXPLOSION ON A PRETZEL ROLL - First off, it took me 2 days to find the damn place that sells this incredibly titled item. Second, when I finally found it (thanks to a VERY INFORMATIVE AND HELPFUL Information Booth attendant, Jim) they were OUT OF PRETZEL ROLLS! All they had were plain hamburger buns. I'm not exactly sure if this counts as the real deal so my ranking here may be flawed. Anywho, the Bacon Explosion on a Pretzel Roll (or BEPR), is a delicously spicy loaf of Owens spicy ground sausage wrapped in deliciously smoked pepper bacon and cooked and then sliced for sandwiches. By the time this meat bomb was placed in my hands it was soggy and, like I said, on a plain hamburger bun. It tasted decent enough, but I think the chewiness of a pretzel roll would have DRASTICALLY elevated this sandwich! Also, I think frying up the individual slice of the bacon/sausage loaf (maybe even breading and THEN frying) would have made this mucho awesome. Finally, I think all the effort spent trying to find the damn vendor created more and more anticipation for the sandwich that made for higher and higher expections. Oh well. (In the brown Owen's food barn on MLK Blvd over by the pigs. Kind of dark and ominous as my lovely beautiful cohort pointed out).
16.) FRIED TWINKIE - I LOVE TWINKIES! I only LIKED this. The battering and frying of that delicious yellow shortening pillow always makes for a blob sweet goop that teases you as to whether you're eating a funnel cake or a Twinkie. That SHOULD be a good thing. But, it's just frustrating and not worth the calories. I'd still eat another one, though. (Fun Way)
15.) ALIGATOR SAUSAGE - I know! I know! The Gator eating gator?! Gator is delicious. Fried gator is the best. A giant aligator sausage on a stick is pretty good. Snappy casing and delicious, spicy meat. However, tastes too much like a regular pork sausage (I expect there was a good amount of pork mixed in). I'd totally take these to a cookout, though. (Grand Avenue)
14.) TEXAS BAR-B-QUE BOOMERANGS - The only reason these little goodies found their way to #13 is because they were just that...little...and lacking. They've taken a won ton wrapper and filled it with some pretty good chopped brisket and tangy sauce and then deep fried it. Put those on a menu and I'll eat those all damn day. However, my order consisted of 3-4 large triangular fried won tons with just about a pinch of brisket. WTF?! I can guarantee if they filled those dude with 2 1/2 or 3 times more meat, they'd have a GIANT success on their hands! Needless to say, I'd order them again. (BW's in the Tower Buildind a.k.a. - Food Court)
13.) DEEP FRIED BACON - Yes! The much maligned creation that raised the food at the Texas State Fair to infamous levels. I had actually never tried it, as this year is my first year to be able to attend the fair in a couple of years. Probably another situation like the BEPR, my anticipation probably made for expectations that were just out of whack. I LOVE BACON! When eating bacon, I like chewy bacon. However, when eating deep fried bacon I found myself wanting crispy bacon NOT dripping with grease. I know what you're saying: "DUDE! It's deep fried bacon.". And I know, but I can still demand crispy bacon NOT dripping with grease. This would have allowed the fried crust to fully cover and stick to the bacon and taste like MORE THAN just a greasy piece of bacon with the occasional hint and crunch of fried breading. Please remember, I'm not knocking this AT ALL. It's just a shame a list had to be compiled. (Nimitz Drive)
12.) TEXAS PIG CANDY - Take some cocktail sausages. Cover them in brown sugar, raspberry chipotle sauce and cayenne pepper. Cook and caramelize. Cover with candied jalapenos. HOLY YES! Awesome. Awesome. The booth ALSO sells cupcakes and someting called a "Meatball Cocktail". When I asked what a "Meatball Cocktail" was a woman, advanced in years, chimed in from behind us with an answer directed to my lady friend: "WE KNOW WHAT A 'MEATBALL COCKTAIL' IS, RIGHT?!". I was was so shocked by this that I didn't really hear what a "Meatball Cocktail" was. Oh well. The pig candy is a strong play and yum yum good, though. (Bailey's in Tower Building a.k.a. - Food Court)
11.) FLETCHER'S JALAPENO AND CHEESE CORNY DOG - I'm all for adding jalapeno and cheese to stuff. But come on man! You DON'T MESS WITH A LEGEND! Was it good? Sure! As good as the original? NYOPE. It put my mind on a little mind treadmill and took it for a walk to nowhere as it searched for whether it enjoyed this or not. Listen here Fletchers. I had already worked out and done my yoga that morning in preparation for the gluttony. Plus, I had already walked through the storm of the century (or at least the biggest storm of that half of the afternoon). I didn't want to do ANY MORE WANDERING! If one (yours truly being the aforemetioned "one") wasn't aware of all the glorious and God-given deliciousness of an original Fletcher's Corny Dog, this would have found itself higher on the list. In fact, the only reason this new version cracked the top 10 is cuz I'm doing my peoples at Fletcher's a solid. You're welcome. Earn this. (Lots of places)
(It gets so hard from here!)
10.) COUNTRY FRIED PORK CHIPS - Awesome thin and lean slices of pork deep fried. This is what the Deep Fried Bacon should strive to be like! Dip these dudes in some ranch or some mustard...or make a mixture like I did...and ENJOY! Salty and meaty and good. Would pair perfectly on a bun with some deep fried pickles. WHAT'S UP?! (Nimitz Drive with the Fried Bacon)
9.) SWEET JALAPENO CORN DOG SHRIMP - Do you like sweet and sour shrimp at Chinese food eat shops? I DO! Imagine some good sweet and sour shrimp from a good Chinese food eat shop. Now, instead of a thin/slightly crunchy breading insert a thicker, sweet and chewy corn dog breading! It's covered in a sweet glaze with a perfect amount of heat in each bite. It's great! Total must try! (By the Esplanade and Chevy Mainstage)
8.) FRIED BANANA PUDDING - OH MOMMY! Take some dough. Put some banana pudding in the middle. Fry that bastard. A damn good fried hand pie. Only complaint I have (and the unfortunate reason this bad boy wasn't ranked higher than 7) is not enough banana pudding filling. Must try for fans of banana pudding, banana cream pie or fried pies. (BW's in Tower Building a.k.a. - Food Court...with the Boomerangs)
7.) FERNIE'S DEEP FRIED PEACHES & CREAM - The winner of "BEST TASTE" in the Big Tex Choice Awards. It's REALLY GOOD. Sweet. Crunchy. Cinnamony. Warm. Delicious. Not the best of the new creations in my book, but still a must try. (Nimitz Drive and also by Big Tex)
6.) DEEP FRIED SNICKERS - I HAVE TO HAVE THESE! I mean, you can't go wrong with a plain Snickers bar! Wrapping it in a funnel cake, though?! Daddy likey. A molteny, melty, gooey, nougatey, caramely core lying inside a sweet, doughey, chewy funnel cake crust is aces in my book. (I can see how this can be overwhelmingly sweet to most people, though. I pity you.) (Fun Way and other places)
5.) DEEP FRIED BUTTER - HERE IT IS! The MUCH MUCH MUCH maligned and vilified creation. Such a polarizing food! I admit that when I heard about this, even I had a day or two of scrunch face where I wondered if this was really something that should be unleashed on the fat masses. After much consideration and pondering and researching, I made my mind up that this HAD to be delicious (if not better than delicious). I mean, it's butter and dough...LOTS of butter and dough. Deep fried butter puffs are a traditional Chinese food! Do you enjoy croissants? Do you enjoy cream puffs? Do you enjoy buttery pie crusts? Do you enjoy butter biscuits? That's butter and dough! This is butter and dough...only to the next, extreme butter level! You can choose to have plain (with powdered sugar), garlic, or with grape or cherry jelly/topping. I sampled the plain (with powdered sugar) with a bit of "oh dear, I'm about to eat straight butter....again....only this time it's fried"-hesitance. And it was worth EVERY FATTY CALORIE. Imagine just a really good buttery, doughy biscuit. Seriously. REALLY GOOD! I commented to my beautiful, adventure-eater lady friend that this would be perfected if a Chic-Fil-A chicken breast found its way in the middle of one of these dudes. Or topped with cinnamon and more sugar. Would I eat these everyday? No (yes). Once a week? No (yes). Once a month? No (yes). Once a year? Hell yes. Just get over yourself and try it. (Nimitz Drive and Fun Way)
4.) TEXAS FRIED PECAN PIE - This whole thing just really worked. Now, granted you have to like pecan pie. But...man. Really sweet? Yes. Cloyingly sweet? No. Everything just melts together under a sweet, chewy fried breading and just...oooooh mama. Oh yes. It's like if someone were to take a funnel cake and had injected pecan pie inside each of those little fingers and ganglia of sweet fried dough. (Nimitz Drive)
3.) FUNNEL CAKE - Do I REALLY need to explain this? The Jackson Pollock of desserts. A frenetic doughnut covered in powdered sugar (or half-powdered sugar, half-cinnamon baked apples in my case). Hot. Soft. Chewy. Hell yes. (Lots of places)
2.) ROOT BEER - Hey. This is MY list. I am very aware that this is probably nothing more than IBC or Barqs or A&W brand root beer. Still nothing is morer awesomer to me than getting a so-very-ice-cold root beer poured out of a giant keg espeically for you, the ticket bearing fairgoer. Then taking that root beer and walking around enjoying the sights of new cars, interestingly dressed/unique people, Billy Mays-starter-kit pitchmen, topaz jewelry, Confederate flag belt buckles, butter sculptures, flipping/spinning-shottily-put-together Midway rides, thieving Midway carnies, the world's tiniest horse, prize winning/record holding animals with huge gonads, and the smell of all the above. That is nothing is morer awesomer until you pair it with the #1 Fair Foodstuffs... (Lots of places)
1.) FLETCHER'S ORIGINAL CORNY DOG - Do I REALLY need to explain THIS? The original. Literally. Where corny dogs and corn dogs were invented. I'm not going to explain. I'm not EVEN going to go on a diatribe about how it's abuse and a sin and a mutiliationable (new hot word) offense to put ketchup (catsup) on a Fletcher's Original Corny Dog. I'm just not (mustard only...or go plain). (Lots of places)
BOOM! THERE IT IS! I dare you to prove me wrong! You probably will because I have weird tastes in food. Anyway. There is till plenty of food at the Fair that I have to try: Green Goblin, Twisted Yam on a Stick, Fried Peanut Butter Cup Macaroon, Fried Cooke Dough, Fried Chocolate Truffle, Fire and Ice, Deep Fried Pizza, Fried Dinner Roll! There are foods that I know I love but just couldn't squeeze in during these two visits: Fried Oreo, Churros, Roasted Corn, Deep Fried Cheesecake, Turkey Leg, Fried Coke (YES. I LIKE FRIED COKE), Texas Tater Twisters, etc. I still have to figure out what a "Meatball Cocktail" is! Who knows! There are still 10 days of Fair-y goodness and excitement left! If I can suffer the $10 parking and the extra notch on my belt, I just might find myself in Big Tex's shadow again and gnawing on a Fletcher's Original Corn Dog, Fried Snickers, Deep Fried Strawberry Waffle Balls and sipping on a tall ass root beer.
So, allow yourselves to live for one day (or 2+ in my case). Enjoy the fair and the crazy ass food!
And if you're going to the fair: "Protect yourself." "Stay alive." "Earn this."
God bless America. God bless Texas. God bless the deep fryer. God bless you.